Choosing coatings for the power generation market
The power generation industry is not a homogenous market. It is often broadly divided into the categories of nuclear and conventional power generation. But the “conventional” category can be divided into well-established power generation methods such as fossil fuels and hydroelectric, and newer, renewable sources such as wind and tidal power generation.
Because these various sources of power generation face such different challenges, and require diverse and sometimes very specific characteristics of their protective coatings, the power generation market possibly has the most to gain from on-site surveys and coating systems recommendations by NACE-certified coatings professionals. Site-specific recommendations based on the unique needs of any given asset in a facility are simply more likely to perform than those recommended by “experts” who have never set foot in the facility.
Power generation operations will share certain needs to be sure. Most of them will likely have large amounts of structural steel that must be guarded against corrosion. High operating temperatures and the need for high temp coatings will be prevalent in power generation facilities using a variety of energy sources. Guarding against corrosion under insulation will likely be a concern.
But there will also be a number of challenges that are unique to each type of industry. Wind turbine coatings will require quick cure times and more UV-resistant properties, for example. Nuclear facilities are subjected to very strict regulatory standards, one area of need being high levels of fireproofing. In hydroelectric facilities, permanently submerged structures need to be taken into account.
Additionally, power generation facilities are likely to have OEM assets that are completely unique to that facility. Sometimes the application process for this type of equipment can be quite complicated. A coatings professional, evaluating the situation on-site, should be able to recognize these situations, and perhaps even make recommendations to the owner on how to proceed.
The better facility managers and owners understand the specific conditions of their own assets (operating temperatures, moisture levels, etc.) the better they can protect those assets. It will also increase their ability to predict when maintenance is required, reducing the likelihood of unscheduled downtime.
Because there is no one-size-fits-all solution for a market as diverse as power generation, it is crucially important that the managers of these facilities work closely with coatings professionals to understand the unique corrosion protection needs of their site. On-site surveys provide an excellent opportunity for achieving this understanding.